Prior to the Communist regime's initiation of the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20th, 1999, 40-year-old Mr. Xu Bin worked at the Dukou Steel & Iron Factory in Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province. Over the next several years, Mr. Xu suffered severely under the persecution. He eventually left Wumaping Prison in Muchuan County, Leshan City, Sichuan Province in 2009, after enduring constant brainwashing and savage torture.
1999-2001: Brainwashing and forced labour
Renhe District Politics and Security Section head Zhang Hongtai in Panzhihua City and police officer Cui Fuli instructed officials from the Security Section to confiscate Xu Bin's Falun Gong books in July 1999. Below is an account of what Mr. Xu had to endure:
Officials from the Renhe District Police Department's Politics and Security Section turned the Renhe District Party School into a brainwashing facility in September 1999, a place where brutality was commonplace. The brainwashing session lasted a week. Between 50 and 60 Falun Gong practitioners were taken there and bombarded with slanderous propaganda. Each practitioner was forced to pay 200 yuan1. They took Xu Bin and Ai Zelin to the Politics and Security Section and told them to curse Falun Gong's founder Mr. Li Hongzhi and verbally attack Falun Gong, or they would never go home. Both practitioners firmly refused, and the officials beat them for six hours, after which the practitioners announced their determination to remain true to their belief. They were held in police custody for the next 15 days. Perpetrators responsible for the beating and incarceration include section head Zhang Hongtai, now the head of the Jinjiang Police Station, and Cui Fuli, Politics and Security Section officer.
Xu Bin went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong in December 1999. Zhang Hongtai and Cui Fuli detained him for 37 days. He went to Beijing again in April 2000, and officials at the Renhe District Politics and Security Section held him for another 37 days.
Mr. Xu went to Beijing for the third time in August 2000 and was arrested. Official Cui Fuli sent him to the Xinhua Forced Labour Camp in Mianyang City, Sichuan Province. Cui Fuli filled out a labour re-education sentence form without approval and subjected Xu Bin to two years of hard labour. Xu Bin was held at this labour camp between August 2000 and June 2001, as he was later granted an early release.
2001: Yanbian County Detention Centre
A local resident surnamed Cai reported Xu Bin and another practitioner to the police on October 12th, 2001 as they handed out Falun Gong information pamphlets. The police gave Cai a 200-yuan reward and arrested the practitioners. Officers from the Hongge Town Police Statioin then sent the practitioners to the Yanbian County Detention Centre.
Xu Bin did the Falun Gong exercises at the Yanbian County Detention Centre. The guards shackled him, but he continued to do the first four exercises, which do not require sitting down or crossing the legs. The guards eventually left him alone. Later on, officers Zhang Ran and Zhao Feng from the Panzhihua City Domestic Security Division separated Xu Bin and Xu Tianfu and interrogated Xu Bin about the source of the Falun Gong materials they were carrying. As Xu Bin did not tell them, they began slapping his face and striking his body. They handcuffed him with his arms behind his back and attached the handcuffs to a window railing, so that his feet were off the ground. The torture ended at midnight. Xu Bin was unconscious from the pain when he was taken to another room, where the guards removed his shackles.
After they had been held at Yanbian County Detention Centre for approximately 25 days, Panzhihua Domestic Security Division officials transferred Xu Bin and Xu Tianfu to the Panzhihua City Detention Centre in November 2001 to be held for one month, followed by 18 months at the Miyi Detention Centre.
Guards at the Miyi Detention Centre beat, handcuffed and shackled Xu Bin for doing the Falun Gong exercises, and they immobilized him in a specially made bed for death row inmates awaiting execution. He suffered also from swollen and painful gums. They pried his mouth open with a cervical dilator used in abortions so that they could force-feed him unknown substances. Xu Bin witnessed the guards handcuffing an elderly practitioner for doing the Falun Gong exercises. She went on a hunger strike. The doctor and guards then pinned her down and savagely force-fed her unknown substances, after which they put her onto the same kind of "Death Bed". She died within a few days.
Miyi County Court put Xu Bin and Xu Tianfu on trial in October 2002. Tang Juzhou was the judge, Yang was the public prosecutor from the Miyi County Procuratorate, and the court-appointed defence lawyer was Wu Xigui. Xu Tianfu's son hired two lawyers to defend his father. During the trial, the prosecutor turned lies into evidence. The two hired defence lawyers dared not speak for their client, while the court-appointed defence lawyer simply echoed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rhetoric. When Xu Bin and Xu Tianfu spoke up in their own defence, the judge cut them off. No verdict was reached during the trial, yet three days later the court announced that Xu Bin had been sentenced to seven years in prison, and Xu Tianfu had been sentenced to nine years in prison. Both practitioners appealed with the Panzhihua City Intermediate Court, which rejected the appeal and upheld the original verdict.
Xu Tianfu and Xu Bin were taken to Deyang Prison in February right after the 2003 Chinese New Year. Deyang Prison is a mid-sized facility that holds death row inmates and those who have received reprieves.
The guards at Division 2, also called the Entrance Division, are assigned to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. They not only carry out the persecution themselves, but they also order prisoners to act as accomplices. These accomplices monitor and coerce the practitioners to recite prison regulations and sing CCP propaganda songs. They use brutal beatings to compel those who refuse. They also administer other punishment, such as forcing the practitioners to stand, walk and run in military formation. They divided the practitioners into groups of approximately 15 people. After mandatory CCTV "news" watching sessions in the evening, every practitioner is required to verbally attack Falun Gong by regurgitating Party propaganda.
Two or three inmates monitor each practitioner. They follow him everywhere like shadows, walking beside him when he eats, works, and uses the toilet and even watch his sleep. Their job is to make sure the practitioner does not get a chance to study Falun Gong books, do the Falun Gong exercises, or speak with other practitioners. The inmates fervently torture the practitioners in order to curry favour with the guards. One practitioner from Panzhihua City refused to do the forced labour and did the Falun Gong exercises inside the cell. He was beaten, locked in a solitary confinement cell, placed under "strict control" status three times, and his sentence was extended by several months.
The guards hastily transferred Xu Bin and three other practitioners, who resolutely persevered in their belief and therefore were considered "dangerously influential." They ended up at Wumaping Prison in Muchuan County, Sichuan Province in November 2003.
Guards at Division 4 of the Wumaping Prison also used inmates to closely monitor and persecute the practitioners, such as forcing them to do hard labour day and night. If the practitioners do not meet the work quota, they had to stand outside beside the prison wall and "repent."
According to one inmate, guards Wang Yijun and Gong Junfu instructed prisoners to assault practitioners Zhu Shaojie, Xiao Huizhan, Zhu Gang, and Geng Dexin. Zhu Shaojie lost consciousness, and Xiao Huizhan could barely stand after the beating.
Other than back-breaking manual labour, the guards also make the practitioners watch slanderous videos, memorize prison policies, wear the prison uniform, shave their heads and write guarantee statements to give up Falun Gong. Anyone who refuses to cooperate would be sent to the Group Drill Team for further torture.
Inmates at the Group Drill Team enjoy privileges usually obtained through special relationships with prison authorities or through bribes. They are given power over other inmates and Falun Gong practitioners. Other inmates cater to their every need, such as doing their laundry.
Practitioner Feng Zhongliang developed widespread calcified lung granulomas from tuberculosis. The guards force-fed him unknown substances over a long period of time; practitioners Liu Xueming, Zhu Gang, Zhu Xuezhi and several others were brutally abused and taken to the Chengdu Prison Hospital only when they were near death. All of these atrocities took place at Division 4.
The pressure at Division 7 under division head Zhang Jian was even more intense. The guards threatened inmates who sympathized with Falun Gong practitioners, ensuring that the practitioners faced constant physical abuse from the inmates.
Chen Guoshun was the political head of Division 7. He locked practitioner He Yuanchao from Chengdu City in a solitary confinement cell the day after he was transferred to Division 7 from Division 1. He demanded He Yuanchao write the prison rules from memory and specify his "understanding" of each rule. He also tried to coerce He Yuanchao to wear a prison uniform. Two other practitioners received similar orders, and all three refused to comply. The guards ordered inmates to take the practitioners outside to the prison wall and make them stand there for one hour and sit on the ground for one hour while they "repented." He Yuanchao insisted that he had done nothing wrong. The abusers chained his arms to metal rings on the ground near the wall. It was December and snowing heavily, yet they forbade He Yuanchao to wear more than two sweatshirts and a pair of sweatpants. He was chained for an entire day and returned to the cell at bedtime. The guards handcuffed him before he went to sleep.
Xu Bin and six other practitioners were held in Division 1. Because they refused to do hard labour, Division 1 heads Xia Shaowen and Deng Xuewen separated them. They transferred Geng Dexin to the Drill Team at Division 4 and sent He Yuanchao to Division 7.
Then, the guards closed in on Xu Bin. Guards Deng Xuewen, Xia Shaowen and Luo Guohua held lengthy interrogation sessions with Xu Bin a few days after September 20, 2007 and demanded that he give up Falun Gong. They claimed the prison Education Section had given them the assignment to "reform" Xu Bin, and demanded that he work with them to fulfil their "work requirement." Xu Bin's answer was a resounding "No," which infuriated the officials. They locked Xu Bin in a solitary confinement cell and arranged for agents and inmate Liu Rongbo, who was serving a sentence for drug trafficking, to move in with him in order to watch him around the clock. Inmate Cai Qinhui from Chengdu was another monitor.
Xu Bin persevered in his belief, however, so the guards sent in more inmates, Luo Xuedong, Song Anming, Tang Xianlin, and several others. They would not let Xu Bin do anything by himself, talked to him constantly and tried to force him to renounce his belief.
The inmates obtained a book filled with slander attacking Falun Gong from guard Deng Xuewen. They sat around Xu Bin, while Liu Rongbo and Song Anming read the slanderous words out loud. Xu Bin protested saying, "It's a lie!" They began cursing Falun Gong. Liu Rongbo and Song Anming twisted Xu Bin's arms, and Xu Bin struggled. All four inmates descended upon Xu Bin and pinned him down. Liu Rongbo pinched Xu Bin's inner thighs while Luo Xuedong punched him. The assault lasted for a long time. After Xu Bin sat up, Luo Xuedong and Liu Rongbo kept striking his head and face. Still, they failed to force Xu Bin to give up his belief that day.
Xu Bin later went on a protest hunger strike. The officials did not let him sleep that night, and the four inmates worked two-hour shifts to make sure Xu Bin could not get any sleep. This strategy continued for 72 hours. Guards Deng Xuewen and Luo Guohua ordered Xu Bin again at the end of this session to write a guarantee statement, and he flatly refused. At this point, Luo Guohua put on a façade and began saying many flattering things to Xu Bin while looking for an opportunity to take advantage of his possible weaknesses. In the end, Luo Guohua said, "Okay, we'll write the guarantee statements and you can just copy them. These words do not come from your heart, and as long as you do as we say, in the future we will never again meddle with your belief."
Xu Bin agreed, and the officials let him alone for three days, between October 1st and October 3rd, 2007. On the fourth day, guard Deng Xuewen told inmate Luo Xuedong to make Xu Bin write a guarantee statement yet again. Xu Bin realized he had made a mistake by copying the deceptive statements last time, so he refused to listen to anything they had to say this time. The inmates physically assaulted Xu Bin. They rained punches and kicks upon him, and pinched his thighs and face, but Xu Bin held his ground. They again resorted to sleep deprivation on October 4th, which lasted 72 hours, during which Xu Bin did not eat or sleep. Luo Xuedong wrote an excerpt from a slanderous book and told Xu Bin to hand-copy it, and Xu Bin obeyed, as his mind was befuddled from the lack of sleep.
Later when his mind was clearer, Xu Bin reflected on his thoughts and actions. Several days later he submitted an announcement to guards Deng Xuewen and Luo Guohua, saying that he wrote the guarantee statement under physical and mental duress, and that the statements were completely void. The guards were transferred away soon afterwards. Xu Bin began doing the exercises at night and resumed normal communication with other detained Falun Gong practitioners.
One inmate said that he wanted to learn Falun Gong after listening to Xu Bin explain about the practice in mid-June of 2008. Inmate Cai Qinhui spotted this person doing the Falun Gong exercises the evening of June 30th and informed guard Chen Guoshun. Chen Guoshun and Luo Guohua searched the inmate's belongings and found several handwritten poems from Hong Yin in his pillow that Xu Bin had written down for him. They forced him to stand against a wall for one week and "repent." Inmates Wang Chun, Hu Jie, Liu Rongbo and Yuan Yi started watching Xu Bin, who was sent to the strictly-controlled cell. They manhandled Xu Bin in an attempt to put a prison uniform on him. Xu Bin struggled, but they managed to hold him down and put the uniform on him. They struck his face many times, making it swell up severely. They told Xu Bin to write a statement to "atone for his behaviour." Xu Bin wrote a statement and read it in front of all the detainees, including three other practitioners, and admitted that he had violated prison regulations.
Xu Bin submitted an announcement to division 1 head Xia Shaowen in September 2008, which said that all repentance statements and everything written by the inmates with his forged signature were completely void.
Xu Bin finally regained his freedom in 2009 after seven years of nightmarish ordeals. Meanwhile, another practitioner Liu Tianhou died as a result of torture at Division 1 at the Wumaping Prison.
Wumaping Prison Education Section: 86-833-8349011
1. "Yuan" is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China.
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2009/7/24/205208.html
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